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Make sure to add some of these top reads, available in print and Kindle, to your 2021 summer reading list.
Twice a year, Amazon editors announce their picks for The Best Book of the Year. It’s a great source of fresh books for summer and Christmas, as it highlights interesting new titles that would otherwise not get enough attention.
The summer ranking is being revealed in mid-June, and includes titles featured as the Best Books of the Month between January and June, as well as worthwhile new publications released in the recent weeks.
What is the best Amazon book for summer 2021? The editors have picked Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead, an epic novel that is “ambitious, literary, yet utterly accessible,” as Sarah Gelman, Amazon Books Editorial Director, described it.
The entire list of the best Amazon books of 2021 includes over 300 titles across twelve popular categories: biographies, children’s books, romance, history, literary fiction, and mysteries.
20 best Amazon Kindle and print books of 2021 so far
1. Great Circle
After being rescued as infants from a sinking ocean liner in 1914, Marian and Jamie Graves are raised by their dissolute uncle in Missoula, Montana.
At fourteen, Marian finds an unexpected patron in a wealthy bootlegger who provides a plane and subsidizes her lessons, an arrangement that will haunt her for the rest of her life: circumnavigating the globe by flying over the North and South Poles.
A century later, Hadley Baxter is cast to play Marian in a film that centers on Marian’s disappearance in Antarctica. Vibrant and canny, Hadley is eager to redefine herself after a romantic film franchise has imprisoned her in the grip of cult celebrity.
2. Klara and the Sun
The first novel by Kazuo Ishiguro since he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, tells the story of Klara, an Artificial Friend with outstanding observational qualities, who, from her place in the store, watches carefully the behavior of those who come in to browse, and of those who pass on the street outside. She remains hopeful that a customer will soon choose her.
3. The Code Breaker
The bestselling author of Leonardo da Vinci and Steve Jobs returns with a gripping account of how Nobel Prize winner Jennifer Doudna and her colleagues launched a revolution that will allow us to cure diseases, fend off viruses, and have healthier babies.
Doudna and her collaborators turned a curiosity of nature into an invention that will transform the human race: an easy-to-use tool that can edit DNA. Known as CRISPR, it opened a brave new world of medical miracles and moral questions.
The development of CRISPR and the race to create vaccines for coronavirus will hasten our transition to the next great innovation revolution. The past half-century has been a digital age, based on the microchip, computer, and internet. Now we are entering a life-science revolution.
4. We Begin at the End
Duchess Day Radley is a thirteen-year-old self-proclaimed outlaw. She is the fierce protector of her five-year-old brother, Robin, and the parent to her mother, Star, a single mom incapable of taking care of hersel.
Walk has never left the coastal California town where he and Star grew up. He may have become the chief of police, but he’s still trying to heal the old wound of having given the testimony that sent his best friend, Vincent King, to prison decades before. And he’s in overdrive protecting Duchess and her brother.
Now, thirty years later, Vincent is being released. And Duchess and Walk must face the trouble that comes with his return.
5. What’s Mine and Yours
A community in the Piedmont of North Carolina rises in outrage as a county initiative draws students from the largely Black east side of town into predominantly white high schools on the west.
For two students, Gee and Noelle, the integration sets off a chain of events that will tie their two families together in unexpected ways over the next twenty years.
When Gee and Noelle join the school play meant to bridge the divide between new and old students, their paths collide, and their two seemingly disconnected families begin to form deeply knotted, messy ties that will shape the trajectory of their adult lives.
6. The Four Winds
Texas, 1921. A time of abundance. The Great War is over, the bounty of the land is plentiful, and America is on the brink of a new and optimistic era.
But for Elsa Wolcott, deemed too old to marry in a time when marriage is a woman’s only option, the future seems bleak. Until the night she meets Rafe Martinelli and decides to change the direction of her life. With her reputation in ruin, there is only one respectable choice: marriage to a man she barely knows.
By 1934, the world has changed; millions are out of work and drought has devastated the Great Plains. Everything on the Martinelli farm is dying, including Elsa’s tenuous marriage; each day is a desperate battle against nature and a fight to keep her children alive.
7. Punch Me Up to the Gods
Punch Me Up to the Gods introduces a powerful new talent in Brian Broome, whose early years growing up in Ohio as a dark-skinned Black boy harboring crushes on other boys propel forward this gorgeous, aching, and unforgettable debut.
Brian’s recounting of his experiences—in all their cringe-worthy, hilarious, and heartbreaking glory—reveal a perpetual outsider awkwardly squirming to find his way in. Indiscriminate sex and escalating drug use help to soothe his hurt, young psyche, usually to uproarious and devastating effect.
A no-nonsense mother and broken father play crucial roles in our misfit’s origin story. But it is Brian’s voice in the retelling that shows the true depth of vulnerability for young Black boys that is often quietly near to bursting at the seams.
8. Gold Diggers
A floundering second-generation teenager growing up in the Bush-era Atlanta suburbs, Neil Narayan is funny and smart but struggles to bear the weight of expectations of his family and their Asian American enclave. He tries to want their version of success, but mostly, Neil just wants his neighbor across the cul-de-sac, Anita Dayal.
When he discovers that Anita is the beneficiary of an ancient, alchemical potion made from stolen gold—a “lemonade” that harnesses the ambition of the gold’s original owner—Neil sees his chance to get ahead.
9. The Plot
Jean Hanff Korelitz
Jacob Finch Bonner was once a promising young novelist with a respectably published first book. Today, he’s teaching in a third-rate MFA program and struggling to maintain what’s left of his self-respect; he hasn’t written—let alone published—anything decent in years.
When Evan Parker, his most arrogant student, announces he doesn’t need Jake’s help because the plot of his book in progress is a sure thing, Jake is prepared to dismiss the boast as typical amateur narcissism. But then… he hears the plot.
Jake returns to the downward trajectory of his own career and braces himself for the supernova publication of Evan Parker’s first novel.
In Chatter, acclaimed psychologist Ethan Kross explores the silent conversations we have with ourselves.
Interweaving groundbreaking behavioral and brain research from his own lab with real-world case studies—from a pitcher who forgets how to pitch, to a Harvard undergrad negotiating her double life as a spy – Kross explains how these conversations shape our lives, work, and relationships.
He warns that giving in to negative and disorienting self-talk—what he calls “chatter” – can tank our health, sink our moods, strain our social connections, and cause us to fold under pressure.
11. Malibu Rising
Taylor Jenkins Reid
Malibu: August 1983. It’s the day of Nina Riva’s annual end-of-summer party, and anticipation is at a fever pitch. Everyone wants to be around the famous Rivas: Nina, the talented surfer and supermodel; brothers Jay and Hud, one a championship surfer, the other a renowned photographer; and their adored baby sister, Kit.
Together, the siblings are a source of fascination in Malibu and the world over—especially as the offspring of the legendary singer Mick Riva. The only person not looking forward to the party of the year is Nina herself, who never wanted to be the center of attention.
By midnight the party will be completely out of control. By morning, the Riva mansion will have gone up in flames.
12. The Other Black Girl
Zakiya Dalila Harris
Twenty-six-year-old editorial assistant Nella Rogers is tired of being the only Black employee at Wagner Books. Fed up with the isolation and microaggressions, she’s thrilled when Harlem-born and bred Hazel starts working in the cubicle beside hers.
They’ve only just started comparing natural hair care regimens, though, when a string of uncomfortable events elevates Hazel to Office Darling, and Nella is left in the dust.
Then the notes begin to appear on Nella’s desk: Leave Wagner. Now.
It’s hard to believe Hazel is behind these hostile messages. But as Nella starts to spiral and obsess over the sinister forces at play, she soon realizes that there’s a lot more at stake than just her career.
13. Infinite Country
Talia is being held at a correctional facility for adolescent girls in the forested mountains of Colombia after committing an impulsive act of violence that may or may not have been warranted.
She urgently needs to get out and get back home to Bogotá, where her father and a plane ticket to the United States are waiting for her. If she misses her flight, she might also miss her chance to finally be reunited with her family in the north.
How this family came to occupy two different countries, two different worlds, comes into focus like twists of a kaleidoscope. We see Talia’s parents, Mauro and Elena, fall in love in a market stall as teenagers against a backdrop of civil war and social unrest.
We see them leave Bogotá with their firstborn, Karina, in pursuit of safety and opportunity in the United States on a temporary visa, and we see the births of two more children, Nando and Talia, on American soil.
14. The Good Sister
Fern Castle works in her local library. She has dinner with her twin sister Rose three nights a week. And she avoids crowds, bright lights and loud noises as much as possible. Fern has a carefully structured life and disrupting her routine can be… dangerous.
When Rose discovers that she cannot get pregnant, Fern sees her chance to pay her sister back for everything Rose has done for her. Fern can have a baby for Rose. She just needs to find a father. Simple.
Fern’s mission will shake the foundations of the life she has carefully built for herself and stir up dark secrets from the past, in this quirky, rich and shocking story of what families keep hidden.
15. Project Hail Mary
Ryland Grace is the sole survivor on a desperate, last-chance mission—and if he fails, humanity and the earth itself will perish.
Except that right now, he doesn’t know that. He can’t even remember his own name, let alone the nature of his assignment or how to complete it.
All he knows is that he’s been asleep for a very, very long time. And he’s just been awakened to find himself millions of miles from home, with nothing but two corpses for company.
16. Good Company
Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney
Flora Mancini has been happily married for more than twenty years. But everything she thought she knew about herself, her marriage, and her relationship with her best friend, Margot, is upended when she stumbles upon an envelope containing her husband’s wedding ring—the one he claimed he lost one summer when their daughter, Ruby, was five.
Flora and Julian struggled for years, scraping together just enough acting work to raise Ruby in Manhattan and keep Julian’s small theater company—Good Company—afloat.
A move to Los Angeles brought their first real career successes, a chance to breathe easier, and a reunion with Margot, now a bona fide television star. But has their new life been built on lies?
17. One Two Three
Everyone knows everyone in the tiny town of Bourne, but the Mitchell triplets are especially beloved. Mirabel is the smartest person anyone knows, and no one doubts it just because she can’t speak. Monday is the town’s purveyor of books now that the library’s closed—tell her the book you think you want, and she’ll pull the one you actually do from the microwave or her sock drawer. Mab’s job is hardest of all: get good grades, get into college, get out of Bourne.
For a few weeks seventeen years ago, Bourne was national news when its water turned green. The girls have come of age watching their mother’s endless fight for justice. But just when it seems life might go on the same forever, the first moving truck anyone’s seen in years pulls up and unloads new residents and old secrets.
Soon, the Mitchell sisters are taking on a system stacked against them and uncovering mysteries buried longer than they’ve been alive.
18. How Lucky
Daniel leads a rich life in the university town of Athens, Georgia. He considers himself to be a mostly lucky guy – despite the fact that he’s suffered from a debilitating disease since he was a small child, one that has left him unable to speak or to move without a wheelchair.
Largely confined to his home, Daniel spends the hours he’s not online communicating with irate air travelers, observing his neighborhood from his front porch.
One young woman passes by so frequently that spotting her out the window has almost become part of his daily routine. Until the day he’s almost sure he sees her being kidnapped…
19. Somebody’s Daughter
Ashley C. Ford
Through poverty, adolescence, and a fraught relationship with her mother, Ashley C. Ford wishes she could turn to her father for hope and encouragement.
There are just a few problems: he’s in prison, and she doesn’t know what he did to end up there. She doesn’t know how to deal with the incessant worries that keep her up at night, or how to handle the changes in her body that draw unwanted attention from men. In her search for unconditional love, Ashley begins dating a boy her mother hates. When the relationship turns sour, he assaults her.
Still, reeling from the rape, which she keeps secret from her family, Ashley desperately searches for meaning in the chaos. Then, her grandmother reveals the truth about her father’s incarceration… and Ashley’s entire world is turned upside down.
20. Girl A
Lex Gracie doesn’t want to think about her family. She doesn’t want to think about growing up in her parents’ House of Horrors. And she doesn’t want to think about her identity as Girl A: the girl who escaped, the eldest sister who freed her older brother and four younger siblings.
But when her mother dies in prison and leaves Lex and her siblings the family home, she can’t run from her past any longer.
Together with her sister, Evie, Lex intends to turn the home into a force for good. But first she must come to terms with her siblings–and with the childhood they shared.
• • •
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